Sunday, March 8, 2015

Substrate--Does it really matter what you paint on?

When I first painted, I used Arches 140 pound cold press paper. I was told this was good artist grade paper. At that time,  I had no idea that there were so many different types of substrates or surfaces on which to paint. And I certainly didn’t know that other than paper or canvas (linen or otherwise), that there were substrates that were made of plastic or rocks!

Then, suddenly, in an art store, I saw Yupo paper. Yupo isn't paper; instead it is plastic. It isn't like cold press paper; and, while it is closer to hot press paper, it really isn't that either. No one ever seems to answer the question of what side should you start painting. However, everyone seems to have their own ideas as to whether or not you should use this plastic/paper/substrate for watercolors. And, until recently the North Carolina Watercolor Society, didn't allow its use in their contests. 

The first painting that I did all by myself was done on Yupo. I entered it in 2009 into a show at the Campbell House in  Southern Pines, NC; it won Honorable Mention. I was so pleased. You would have thought I had won a 100 million dollar lottery. Alas, it didn't sell. No one ever bought it and I finally ended up giving it to my neurologist in NYC. She liked it. 

I rarely do watercolors anymore, as it is very difficult for me to hold my hands steady enough. Only a few of my paintings have won any awards, and the highest award was third place. My work does sell, but not at any fantastic price as other artists' work may. 

However, similar to many artists, I am my own worst critic. If I hate what I paint, others like it, and they might even buy it. During juried shows (while this implied to me a jury not a one and only one judge) paintings seem to be evaluated based on how a judge thinks watercolor should be used. This often means that those of us who do mixed media will not be considered for Best in Show. After all, the whole idea of Mixed Media is the idea of “what if”. What if I used, glazing medium, with alcohol ink on top, followed by, acrylic paint, mixed with….Okay, anything could be mixed. Judges don’t understand this concept. And often, even other artists also don’t understand mixed media, and especially not if the painting is abstract.

This week, I went off on three different painting tangents. For my first painting, I used pouring medium with alcohol inks on a canvas substrate.  For my second painting, I used the same pouring medium with alcohol inks on the canvas, but I added acrylic paints to it. And then during my third try, I used terra skin paper (this isn’t paper at all, it is actually made from rock and it is, one reads, good for the environment).

And so, good reader of my blog, does the substrate matter to you? Or is it the painting that is important? If you were the judge, to what standard would you hold the painting? At Westminster you are not judging the dog, but the breed of dog. Is this the same for an artist’s painting?

You be the judge.

Painting with Pouring Medium and Alcohol Inks 
8x8 Canvas with 1.75 Edge

Pouring Medium with Alcohol Ink and Acrylic Paints
on 8x8 Canvas with 1.75 Edge

8x8 (I think!) Terra Skin with Alcohol Inks including Metallics

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Behind Again

I am one week behind in my free online class. I don't want to think how far behind I am in the class I paid $35. And the surprising thing is that this bothers me far more than during my doctoral program. Had this happened during my masters though, I would have croaked. 

Last night I began with the idea of doing my late assignment. Unlike many artists and writers, a blank page doesn't bother me. If you are a writer, in or out of school, just open an email window and write to yourself or an imaginary Professor. You will be surprised how soon you can fill a page. You can email yourself and then get to work. 

With art, there are different ways. In one class, the artist/teacher says to Gesso the page. Another artist just suggests putting paint on the page. Neither of these appeal to me. And I hate the saying "it's just paper."  Some people do a journal. I am just beginning this. 

As an abstract artist I rarely if ever use photos. And, it is even more rare for you to find me sketching something. But I do consider colors and shapes. I am also trying to make myself use other people colors. It is true that I use only a tad of yellow or orange. But a recent commission has made me reconsider these two non favorite colors. 

The assignment was:

Layers You Will Love!

February 21

Art Challenge:  Repeating Elements
Journal Prompt:  It's Worth Repeating

I took out some of my favorite Stencil Girl Stencils, including several by Carolyn Dube. Two of these stencils I repeat in many of my paintings. And I worked on the piece below. 

Alas I forgot to take a picture half way through doing this work, but as you can see I have several shapes, numbers, and colors repeated. And later today I continued to work on it. 

As I continued this work, it ceased to be an assignment and became more my work or my art. This to me is important and may help me not always be so late in the class. We will see. 

Soon I will show you what I did this afternoon. But for now, this is it in terms of writing. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Everyone has a type of painting they like best. Some want only flowers. Some want only landscapes. And some, match paintings to their chairs, room color etc. For the artist, you can't figure out what someone likes or why they like it. You only need to figure out, do you think the painting is good.

Sunset Flowers

A Touch of Pink

Both of these paintings are done in Alcohol Ink on Yupo paper. Sunset Flowers is 5x7 and is available for $15. It is not matted or framed. A Touch of Pink will be for sale at Penick Village framed for $90. 

For other paintings or to commission a painting contact me

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Slow Blogger

I used to blog every day when I was at NYU in 2007-2008. What has happened and why?

Hmm. The earth is older but so am I. The earth has some illnesses but the. So do I. I try to take care of myself, the earth is not doing well in this respect. But the earth is still turning quickly. Instead of me turning quickly, I think about the world, the earth. And in some respects, I think about geography. We are all so much closer now than we were it seems. From Sputnik to 9/11 to each new terror group. Geography brings us closer. But the earth has more limits. We may not kill everyone but we may kill the earth.

I started doing earth paintings when I painted this painting that was purchased by Emily Baun'a husband for her holiday gift. It was perhaps my first really successful mixed media painting. I made the earth by laying a Gelli plate on paint and on building materials on my paper. I am not sure I would recommend that as I really made a mess.

One of my next paintings was this one, which alas I tried to do something more and the painting croaked. Unlike the computer where you can undo umpteen times, you can't do this or at least I can't do this yet. 

But isn't that somewhat the point of this painting. Flowers and symbols float around the earth we think. But instead the earth goes around with ITS flowers and our symbols. We can kill all of these through boundaries, pesticides and language. Do you believe in Global Warming? Should all countries?

Years later from that flowered painting, I would do this one. Questions still existed and will continue 
to exist in my mind. Parties will say they aren't scientists, tho every country has its own scientists. 
Can science be bought? Maybe. But if Country A lives next to Country B and one believes in Global 
warming and greenhouse gasses etc, can we only breathe in one of these countries? I am not a 
scientist but I doubt it. 

In my "spare" time I like to think I can still do things on the computer. I know the best program I took was in Interactive Telecommunications. The painting below is one of my paintings digitized and reworked and digitized again. Some people consider this not to be art. Perhaps. However, while I worked, I couldn't help but think that we can manipulate statistics, drawings, graphs, even the digital world. But we cannot manipulate what really happens to us all in this world. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Art to the 5th 2015

Art to the 5th is a year long free project that artists do work in their journal based on a monthly theme and and a journal prompt given out on Saturdays. I joined a week ago and need to catch up.

The first two weeks were as follows: 

Jan 1

Subject:  The blank page and how to face it

Art Challenge : Book Paper--Monthly 
Journal Prompt: Be Your Own Goal Keeper

January 10

Art Challenge:  Gesso

Journal Prompt:  “The beginning is always today.” -Mary Shelley

While most people looked at goal as an achievement, I also considered how the word goal is also hitting  the puck into the goal. 

In the January 1st goalkeeper prompt I did a collage using parts of Gelli Prints that I did last year. The left page has the goal which looks like an igloo in the top left. And below is Carolyn Dube's house stencil and Stencil Girls other stencil of the world. Last year was my first use of stencils. Right page has the goal/igloo on right bottom corner. The bottom left has something that for me is
like puzzle pictures. How can I combine what I did last year and go more into mixed media? The goal keeper for both years is the word Dare. Don't you dare give up.